In our connected world, word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the most powerful tools for building a loyal customer base and attracting new customers. Positive recommendations from satisfied customers can significantly impact a business’s reputation and growth. In fact, a pioneering McKinsey study showed that word of mouth influences more than 67% of purchase decisions.

Here are a few simple approaches to bolster your word-of-mouth marketing efforts and potentially drive more customers through your doors.

• Deliver Exceptional Customer Service – Outstanding service and remarkable experiences are crucial to word-of-mouth marketing. Place a high priority on providing exceptional customer service and delivering personalized interactions to all customers. If you have employees, train your staff to go the extra mile, listen attentively and address any concerns as soon as possible.

• Encourage Online Reviews and Testimonials – Reviews and testimonials play a crucial role in influencing consumer decisions, as research by Northwest University has shown that nearly 90% of people read reviews before making a purchase decision. Encourage happy customers to leave reviews on popular review platforms and social media. Use your business’ social media accounts and website to share these reviews, amplifying their impact.

• Build Strong Relationships with Your Community – You can significantly increase your business’s credibility and reach by partnering with influential residents and community leaders. Think about sponsoring local events, partnering with neighboring businesses, and participating in community initiatives. Active participation in community events and groups fosters trust and connections, making people more likely to recommend your company.

• Consider Hosting an Engaging Event – Hosting or participating in local events provides an excellent opportunity to connect with your community and potential customers. Consider organizing a workshop or product demonstration that aligns with your business. For example, if you run a flower shop, consider conducting a session to teach customers how to create a floral display. Enhance the event’s appeal by partnering with another local business. Encourage attendees to share their experiences on social media using event-specific hashtags.

• Become More Social Online – Maintain an active presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – focusing specifically on the ones your ideal customers use. Share customer success stories, behind-the-scenes glimpses and special promotions. Encourage your customers to tag your business in their posts and respond promptly to their comments and messages.

• Create a Referral Program – Reward existing customers for referring new customers with extras like a small discount or freebie. Make the referral process simple and convenient by providing referral cards or links for your customers to pass along. This approach not only encourages customers to spread the word about your business but also helps track the effectiveness of your referral program.

For local businesses, word-of-mouth remains a potent tool for attracting new customers and cultivating loyalty. Businesses can easily harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing by taking a few easy steps to start and adding new aspects over time. By embracing the power of word-of-mouth marketing, you can witness your business thrive in the local marketplace over time.